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Coastal and marine studies in Australia: a workshop manual for teachers

Griffith University and the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1997
ISBN 0 868 57872 X

Module 8

Accessing and Evaluating Resources for Coastal and Marine Studies

INTRODUCTION

This module is designed to provide practical support and guidelines for making decisions about appropriate teaching resources. A range of important issues need to be considered when teachers select resources for coastal and marine studies. These include:

This module addresses these sorts of concerns. Those involved in coastal and marine education need to become familiar with the core concepts of Ecologically Sustainable Development and education for sustainable living. An evaluation matrix called 'ERCME' (Evaluation of Resources in Coastal and Marine Education) is provided in this module to help teachers identify aspects of these core concepts in the materials they might choose to use.

The use of the ERCME matrix can help overcome to the problems that may arise with otherwise 'good' resources. Overall, this module attempts to develop strategies for evaluating resources that will assist in the comprehensive evaluation and selection of materials for classroom use.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this workshop are:

WORKSHOP OUTLINE

There are seven activities in this workshop:
  1. Introduction
    An icebreaker activity is used to introduce the themes of the workshop and involve participants in a discussion of the resources they find most useful in coastal and marine studies.
  2. Problems of Resource Selection
    A group discussion identifies some problems associated with resource selection and develops a list of criteria for resource selection.
  3. The ERCME Matrix
    A mini-lecture and discussion introduces participants to the ERCME matrix.
  4. Using the ERCME Matrix
    Participants work in groups and apply the ERCME matrix to evaluate a range of coastal and marine resources.
  5. The Purchasing Committee
    A simulation game provides participants with the opportunity to work in groups to 'purchase' resources for coastal and marine studies.
  6. Accessing Coastal and Marine Resources on the WWW
    This activity is provided for workshop groups with access to several computer terminals that have access to the Internet in order to evaluate the value of the WWW in accessing information and teaching materials for coastal and marine studies.
  7. Conclusion
    Participants return to the lists generated in Activity 1 and assess the usefulness of these resources using the criteria for evaluation explored during the workshop.

MATERIALS REQUIRED

A. Provided

Overhead Transparencies
OHT 1 An Unfinished Checklist of Resources
OHT 2 Objectives of the Workshop
OHT 3 Problems Associated with Resource Selection
OHT 4 Six Problems of Resource Selection
OHT 5 Some Types of Bias
OHT 6 Possible Evaluation Criteria
OHT 7 The ERCME Matrix
OHT 8 Characteristics of our School


 

Resources
Resource 1 Our Most Useful Resources
Resource 2 Developing the ERCME Matrix
Resource 3 The ERCME Matrix
Resource 4 A Sample Resource for Evaluation
Resource 5 Creating your Own Evaluation Matrix
Resource 6 Resources Available for 'Purchase'
Resource 7 Introduction to the Internet
Resource 8 WWW Sites for Coastal and Marine Studies


 

Readings
Reading 1 A Bit about Bias
Reading 2 Evaluation Criteria

B. To be obtained

Activity 1 Before the workshop, select your favourite resource for teaching a coastal or marine topic and/or invite 2- 3 participants to do the same and to bring this to the workshop and briefly explain to the group why this is their favourite resource.

Also, you might bring a selection of useful resources to set up and display before the workshop. A complete listing of relevant sites on the Internet could also be devised to display the WWW resources available for coastal and marine studies (Activity 6)

Activity 4 You might like to provide a range of resources (perhaps from your display) for evaluation rather than the sample one in Resource 4.
Activity 5 You might be able to provide a different 'resource catalogue' (perhaps shorter or more directly focused on the teaching levels and subjects of participants) to the compilation in Resource 6.

REFERENCES

Maccoll, P. (1989) Selecting and Evaluating Resources for Geography Teaching in J. Fien, R. Gerber and P. Wilson, (eds) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne.

North American Association for Environmental Education (1996) Environmental Education Materials: Guidelines for Excellence, NAAEE, Troy, Ohio.

Tourtillott, L and Britt, P. (1994) Evaluating Environmental Education Materials, National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Unger, Z. (1995) Analysing Educational Resources, in J. Fien (ed) Teaching for a Sustainable World, International Edition, UNESCO-UNEP IEEP and Griffith University, Brisbane.

ACTIVITIES

1. Introduction


2. Problems with Resource Selection

3. The ERCME Matrix

This mini-lecture explains some criteria which could be used when selecting resources for coastal and marine studies.


4. Using the ERCME Matrix

Resource 4 is a sample resource for evaluation produced by the Gould League (and included with its permission) which could be used in this activity.


5. The Purchasing Committee

This is a simulation activity in which participants play the role of a school committee that has funding available for the purchase of resources for coastal and marine studies. The aim of the activity is to select a range of resources from a 'catalogue' (Resource 6).


6. Accessing Coastal and Marine Resources on the WWW

Note to Facilitators: This activity requires access to the World Wide Web (WWW) for all participants either singly or working in pairs or small groups. It might be necessary to adjourn the workshop to a venue where such access is available. If this access is not available then perhaps this activity should not be attempted. Under such circumstances, suggest to participants that they could take Resource 7 and Resource 8 with them and complete this activity on their own - perhaps via WWW access at home or school.

If participants are not familiar with accessing information on the WWW the facilitator could use the information in Resource 7 to run this activity.

Note to facilitators: It is possible for this activity could be developed into a full workshop in its own right.

Useful WWW sites to use as starting points for such a workshop include:


7. Conclusion


OHT 1

An Unfinished Checklist of Resources

Source: Maccoll, P. (1989) Selecting and Evaluating Resources for Geography Teaching, in J. Fien, R. Gerber and P. Wilson (eds), The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p. 391.

  • Archives
  • Artefacts
  • Audio-tapes
  • Brochures
  • Bulletin boards
  • Cartoons
  • Census findings
  • Chalkboard
  • Charts
  • Computer software
  • Dioramas
  • Exhibits
  • Films
  • Games
  • Graphs
  • Guest speakers
  • Item banks
  • Magazines
  • Letters
  • Line sketches
  • Maps
  • Music
  • Newsletters
  • Newspapers
  • Novels
  • OHP
  • Paintings
  • Pamphlets
  • Parents
  • Pen Pals
  • Periodicals
  • Photographs
  • Poetry
  • Posters
  • Radio
  • Research findings
  • Role plays
  • Sand tables
  • Simulation/games
  • Slides
  • Specimens
  • Statistics
  • Television
  • Textbooks
  • Video


OHT 2

Objectives of the Workshop


OHT 3

Problems Associated with Resource Selection

Source: Maccoll, P. (1989) Selecting and Evaluating Resources for Geography Teaching, in J. Fien, R. Gerber and P. Wilson (eds.) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p. 385.


OHT 4

Six Problems of Resource Selection

Source: Maccoll, P. (1989) Selecting and Evaluating Resources for Geography Teaching, in J. Fien, R. Gerber and P. Wilson (eds.) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p. 385.

  1. Readability and comprehension levels
  2. Currency of content
  3. Bias
  4. Inconsistency and inadequacy of coverage
  5. Value for money with regard to program needs
  6. Unco-ordinated management and duplication of resources


OHT 5

Some Types of Bias

Source: Tourtillott, L. and Britt, P. (1994) Evaluating Environmental Education Materials, National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, p. 10.


OHT 6

Possible Evaluation Criteria

Source: Adapted from Tourtillott, L. and Britt, P. (1994) Evaluating Environmental Education Materials, National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, p. 8.

Awareness and Knowledge

Attitudes

Skills and Participation


OHT 7

The ERCME Matrix

Criteria

Yes/No

Rating
E=Excellent P=Poor

1. Knowledge and Awareness

  • Clear definition of terms/concepts
  • Currency of information
  • Concepts set in social and ecological context
  • Appropriate developmental level
 
E--------P
2. Attitudes
  • Encourage a sense of respect and responsibility
  • Encourage active participation
  • Positive role models provided
  • Positive and hopeful outlook provided
  • Variety of perspectives promoted
 
E--------P
3. Skills
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Action strategies
  • Range of solutions
  • Critical reasoning
 
E--------P
4. Acceptability
  • Society
  • Authorities
  • Assessment
 
E--------P
5. Relevance
  • Curriculum
  • Interests
  • Needs
  • Abilities
  • Age level
 
E--------P

6. Feasibility

  • Facilities
  • Equipment
  • Experience
  • Qualifications
  • Availability
 
E--------P


OHT 8

Characteristics of Our School

Type of School (circle one)

Socio-Economic Status (SES) (circle one)

Quality of Existing Resources for Coastal and Marine Studies (circle one)

Range of Audio Visual and Computer Equipment Available (circle one)


Resource 1

Our Most Useful Resources

Name of Person

Favourite Resource

   
   
   
   
   
   


Resource 2

Developing the Ercme Matrix

Criteria

Yes/No

Rating
E=Excellent P=Poor

1. Knowledge and Awareness
  • Definition of terms and concepts
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
E--------P
2. Attitudes
  • Encourage a sense of respect and responsibility
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
E--------P
3. Skills
  • Decision making
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
E--------P
4. Acceptability
  • Society
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
E--------P
5. Relevance
  • Curriculum
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
E--------P
6. Feasibility
  • Facilities
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 
E--------P


Resource 3

The ERCME Matrix

Criteria

Yes/No

Rating
E=Excellent P=Poor

1. Knowledge and Awareness

  • Clear definition of terms/concepts
  • Currency of information
  • Concepts set in social and ecological context
  • Appropriate developmental level
 
E--------P
2. Attitudes
  • Encourage a sense of respect and responsibility
  • Encourage active participation
  • Positive role models provided
  • Positive and hopeful outlook provided
  • Variety of perspectives promoted
 
E--------P
3. Skills
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Action strategies
  • Range of solutions
  • Critical reasoning
 
E--------P
4. Acceptability
  • Society
  • Authorities
  • Assessment
 
E--------P
5. Relevance
  • Curriculum
  • Interests
  • Needs
  • Abilities
  • Age level
 
E--------P

6. Feasibility

  • Facilities
  • Equipment
  • Experience
  • Qualifications
  • Availability
 
E--------P


Resource 4

A Sample Resource for Evaluation

Source: Bay Litter Watch Project, The Gould League of Victoria, Moorabbin.

(Any Environmental Education resource may be used for this activity, however a copy of Bay Litter Watch Project can be obtained from The Gould League of Victoria, PO Box 446, Prahran, Victoria, 3181 or directly from the hotlinked address above.)


Resource 5

Creating Your Own Evaluation Matrix

Source: Adapted from Tourtillott, L. and Britt, P. (1994) Evaluating Environmental Education Materials, National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, pp. 7-8.

To develop your own evaluation matrix, you must first create a survey instrument using questions developed out of the criteria you choose to include in your evaluation tool. You also need to work out how the answers to the questions help you to compare resources.

Converting Criteria

To turn a generic criterion into an evaluation question, think about what you really want to know and how you or other teachers will use the information. Questions can be asked to give "yes/no" answers, to help choose a number on a scale or to give a narrative response. For example, the criterion "Resources encourage students to clarify their own values" may be converted into several questions: "Do activities in the resource guide students in identifying the value positions held by themselves and others?'; "To what extent does the resource allow students to form opinions?'; or "To what extent are students encouraged to defend or challenge their opinions?'. Framing the questions from the criteria may take some practice and you may wish to do so in conjunction with the next step.

Developing a Rating System

The questions must help you evaluate the materials. What will the answer mean? You can use anything from a simple checklist to a complicated ranking procedure. The following common methods may be appropriate for your use:

Most new evaluation tools will have a few kinks to be worked out. It is recommended that you pilot your tool on at least two resources. See if the criteria can be addressed in the way the questions are asked. If not, try to phrase the questions differently. Also, make sure that the information generated by each criterion is useful in determining whether the resource meets your goals and those of coastal and marine studies.


Resource 6

Resources Available for 'Purchase'

Adams, J. (1991) Mangroves Alive!, Paramatta State School, Cairns.
(Book)
A book by students about discovering the mangroves around Cairns. Uses cutout pages to highlight the discovery. The project, including the production of the book, is a winner of the national Earthworm Award. Set in tropical Queensland, this provides an interesting stimulus package. Mainly used to introduce marine science but also used by community and conservation groups to show what groups can do. Cutouts need careful handling but this is an attractive resource.
Australia Post/Australian Philatelic Federation (n.d.) Exploring the World Down Under (The Stamping Ground), CAW Marketing, Sydney.
(Kit)
Kit is designed to support teachers in developing students' knowledge about marine life. Uses Australian in general but with a tropical bias. Has student activity sheets relating to postage stamps. Chiefly for primary environmental education and shows science in practice. Useful way of displaying stamps.
What's For Dinner, Thank You, Dataworks, Australia, 1994.
(CD-ROM)
Foodwebs in the Southern Oceans of the Antarctic. Suitable for all backgrounds. Used as a reference and for independent work. Useful as an interactive teaching tool with good imagery.
Marine Kit, Gould League of Victoria Inc., Moorabbin.
(Books/posters/stickers)
Teacher activity books: Secrets at the Beach, Coasting, Riding the Tide.
Posters: Fish. Sharks, Beachcombing, Shells, Rockpool, Seabirds.
Stickers: Crabs, Rockpool, Dune.
Appropriate for a range of habitats, especially in temperate areas of Australia. Suitable for all backgrounds though the posters require higher cognitive skills for interpretation. Suggested for use as a pre-visit resource and as a classroom display. Excellent teachers' aid.
Steele, P. (1991) Sharks and Other Monsters of the Deep, Random Century Aust. Pty. Ltd., Melbourne.
(Book)
A very good guide for understanding and learning about sea creatures Including sharks, anemones, jelly fish. molluscs, giant squids, octopuses, crabs, jawless fish, sea reptiles, bony fish, and weapons used by sea creatures. The context is Australian seashores. Can be used across a number of science units, including biology. A very good resource with numerous colourful pictures with good information.
Habitat Stickers (9): Rockpool Life, Shells, Fish, Coastal Birds, Dune Plants, Crabs, Whales, Barrier Reef Creatures, Penguins. Gould League of Victoria Inc., Moorabbin.
(Stickers)
Colour representations of sea life adaptable to many uses. Cheap and easy to use. Can be stuck into sticker booklets which provides text, or used by students to illustrate their own work. They relate to any Australian coastline and are all in full colour. Used in primary science and studies of the environment and as follow up after field visits. Cheap, quick, easy, colourful resource to lead into discussions on ecology and habitat. Can be used as 'rewards'.
Ross, B. (ed) (1977) Australian and New Zealand Complete Book of Boating. Hamlyn, Sydney.
(Book)
Encyclopedia on boats, instructions and types in great detail. Applicable to all Australasian waters with many illustrations. Used in Marine Studies as a reference and for personal study. Thorough coverage of types, procedures to use, safety procedures, where to sail. Good reference.
Shaw, Porteus and Wansbrough (eds) (1992) When the Bell Rings! Longman Cheshire, Melbourne.
(Book)
Ready-to-use work units for busy teachers. Has a unit on shipwrecks and underwater music, set in any watery environment. Contains activity sheets within units of work. Used across levels and subjects. Many curriculum areas covered in the framework of the unit.
Resources for Primary Schools, GBR Aquarium Volunteer Association, Townsville.
(Book)
Student activity book containing a well laid out series of activities on marine environments and information on sharks, whales, and sea snakes. Applies to the Reef and most coastal areas. Useful facts summarised in simple language accompany every activity. Black and white masters can be copied for classroom use. Appropriate for environmental and nature focused studies. Innovative activities and crafts and clear layout make this a useful classroom resource.
Undersea Adventure, Knowledge Adventure, London, 1994.
(CD-ROM)
High quality marine information in an interactive format that is applicable to any marine habitat. Suitable for all backgrounds and provides a variation on print resources. Suggested use is as a pre- or post-visit beach activity. Great for exploration and just plain fun.
Moffat, R. (1991) Marine Science Worksheets, Wetpaper Publishers, Ashmore.
(Kit)
Primarily about tropical reefs but some activities are transferable to southern waters. Set on the Reef in Northern Australia, with easy-to-use prepared worksheets. ESL groups may need teacher assistance. Used at Environmental Education Centres to provide constructive ideas for visiting teachers, especially for art. Good follow-on ideas for marine studies
Moroney, D., Bourke, S. and Hanson, S. (1994) Caring for the Coast: Coastal Activities for Primary Schools, City of Henley and Grange, Henley Beach, SA.
(Kit)
The kit contains a teacher's guide with student activity sheets and background information. Focuses on how to protect coastal environments. Habitats are mostly coasts, with a focus on temperate zones of South Australia. Features black and white activity sheets, teacher background information on coastal wildlife and plants and a glossary. Marine Education and aspects of Science and Society and the Environment in upper primary classes. An excellent resource which encourages students to take actions to protect their coast. Written by educators to cover the gap in appropriate material in South Australia.
Gillett K, and Yaldwin J. (1978) Australian Seashores In Colour, National Library of Australia, Sydney.
(Field guide)
Introduction to the range of teeming life of intertidal zones, along the Australian coast line. Very good photography of places including diagrams and maps. Can be a field guide or for general science. Good for identifying animals and developing some background knowledge. Suitable for high school student research.
Underwood, A.J. and Chapman, M.G. (eds.) (1995) Coastal Marine Ecology of Temperate Australia, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.
(Book)
Excellent reference written as a textbook for high school teachers and undergraduates with illustrations, maps and diagrams. Context is the temperate coastlines of Australia though many of the processes apply everywhere in marine habitats. Written for tertiary courses, this is still very useful in senior marine sciences and biology. Scientific and very detailed with a high reading level. This is appropriate for individual study and for teacher reference.
Wincer, S. (1993) Free Willy, Warner Bros.
(Video)
A young boy develops a friendship with a Killer whale kept in captivity. Scenery includes inshore and ocean scenes, although many are American. A popular commercial video, available in video shops. A general interest story on marine mammals used in Year 7 Science and for stimulus in other levels. Lightweight, but popular with younger students.
Living in Water, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland USA, 1987.
(Activity guide)
A series of practical science investigations into the properties of water and aquatic environments and the plants and animals that live in them. It includes exercises in classification, sorting data, experimentation as well as application to other learning areas. Written for North America, but much of the experimental work has universal application. Many good experiments. Some Black line masters provided and a good source of ideas for developing new materials. An excellent resource for the teacher of any aquatic science.
Farrugia J. and Lindford C. (1996) An Octopus's Garden Resource Kit and Guide, Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences for Ocean Rescue 2000, Melbourne.
(Kit and resource guide)
An Early Childhood marine education resource guide for developing activities to stimulate learning for children 3-8 years old. Contains a wide variety of stimuli posters, artefacts, puppets, and other materials appropriate for any beach and coastal setting. Offering strategies for enhancing learning through discovery, inquiry and hands on exploration while incorporating a number of skills, concepts and understandings, the kit is available for loan through Marine Discovery Centre, Queenscliff, Victoria or from Under Water World, Mooloolabah, Queensland. Used in primary science, environmental education and for fieldwork. An invaluable aid and model for development of age-appropriate learning strategies in Marine Education. Great fun to use and do.
Drains to the Bay, Melbourne Water, Melbourne (1992).
(Kit)
Curriculum guide for developing an inquiry based approach to science and social education, with a 10 minute animated video on storm water drains and their impact on Port Phillip Bay in Victoria. Though made for Victoria, it has cross-state applicability because of its messages. Used in general sciences, geography and in environmental studies as well as a stimulus for special events like World Environment Day or Clean Up Australia. Good example of an integrated inquiry based learning approach to study the issues associated with storm water run off from urban environments. Numerous simple activities to illustrate basic concepts, not merely Port Phillip Bay.
Mason, P.L. (ed.) (1987) Birds of South-Eastern Australia: Oceans, Bays and Beaches. 2nd edition, Gould League of Victoria, Moorabbin.
(Field guide)
Ideal hand sized field guide with detailed descriptions and illustrations of the bird species found in the coastal environment. Full colour illustrations with bird list and habitat index included. Relates to South-eastern Australian coastlines. Suitable for all backgrounds, small format. Used as a reference book in field studies for younger children. Simple to use, but restricted cover to major and most common species.
The Reef, Melbourne, 1987.
(Video)
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the natural wonders of the world. An underwater cameraman captures the coral formations and the wide variety of fish and wildlife in the area. Set in the Great Barrier Reef of Queensland, but avoids any of the issues affecting life on the reef today. Good basic content for general sciences. Useful introduction.
The Irrawaddy Dolphin: Sea Turtles; Sperm Whales; The Dugong; Mangrove Plant Forest Habitat, Northern Territory Department of Education, Darwin, 1993.
(Leaflet)
Well illustrated information on A3 size leaflets. Contains information on biology, habitat distribution and threatened marine species; set in Northern Territory. Large format, clear unfussy illustrations; most suited for field work or for individual research into various topics in science, environmental studies and biology. Well presented and informative in pamphlet format.
Moffatt, R. (1992) Marine Studies: A Course for Senior Students, Wet Paper Publications, Ashmore.
(Book)
Text covering boating, navigation, marine communication, personal water skills, management, conservation, living and non-living aspects of the marine environment. Focus is on East Australia, but information can be applied elsewhere. Study/review questions, assignments, activities, experiments and roleplays for students, all in black and white. Student text designed for Queensland. Marine Studies syllabus. Brings together a considerable amount of information for the first time. Good reference book for class use with numerous illustrations and black and white photographs.


Resource 7

Introduction to the Internet

The Internet is a vast, worldwide network of computers which is sometimes referred to as the 'Information Superhighway'. Computers connected to the Internet are able to access data and services provided by other computers on the network. Many services are provided, but one of the most commonly used services is the World Wide Web.

The World Wide Web (also known as WWW or W3) is the 'latest and greatest' information service to arrive on the Internet. It has been described as 'a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative, aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents'. WWW attempts to give a standard way of accessing the largely unstructured information available on the Internet.

Information is presented in documents which contain links to other documents. This makes navigation very easy. Documents can contain text, graphic, sound and video information. Most WWW browser software can also view other information such as news groups and information stored on the Gopher servers. WWW presents documents in hypertext (highlighted text) which provides linkages to other documents.

One of the most popular WWW browsers in Australia is Netscape. This browser is menu-driven but also contains a toolbar to help you find your way through home pages. The location bar allows the user to type in a web address (or URL) to arrive at a desired web site.

Documents from different home pages can be printed or saved to disk, bearing in mind copyright regulation at all times. Resource 8 lists some relevant sites for you to explore.

Glossary of Terms

E-Mail
Electronic Mail
HTML
HyperText Markup Language. A markup language used to create documents which are available on the World Wide Web
HTTP
HyperText Transfer Protocol. A set of standards used to transfer information through the World Wide Web
Netscape
One of the most popular internet browsers
Newsgroup
A forum for discussion and information transfer
World Wide Web
A method of structuring information on the Internet
WWW
World Wide Web
URL
Uniform Resource Locator. Every electronic page on the WWW has a unique address called a URL


Resource 8

Coastal and Marine Web Sites

  1. ERIN: Environmental Resources Information Network
    ERIN is the home page of the Australian Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories. As soon as you access the site, an icon invites you to 'click' on a range of the Department's areas of concerns. One of these is coastal and marine environments. There you will be able to access many major reports, including Our Seas, Our Future: Major Findings of the State of the Marine Environment Report for Australia.
  2. Coast Net
    CoastNet is a forum on the Internet for communicating about coastal management issues. CoastNet has topical discussion groups and contact lists; information on conferences, workshops and meetings; on-line manuals and reports; details on community monitoring programs; and bibliographic reference material.
  3. Australian and Coastal Community Network
    The Network is a non-government agency that links community groups in order to develop co-operative approaches to managing coastal and marine environments. Hosts newsgroups and lists of contacts.
  4. Great Barrier Reef Aquarium
    About GBRMPA's aquarium and all topics related to aquariums. Has bibliography on available books from GBRMPA and many colour photographs. Fun site for students to browse through by themselves. Informative and eye catching.
  5. Gould League Home Page
    Contains sections on the marine environment among other things. Primarily focused on Australia. This site was created to encourage Internet usage in schools. Used for research projects. Colourful, easy to use site.
  6. Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study and Melbourne Water Home Page
    Marine and water supply information in Victoria. Includes information on who does what and on going research activities. Can be used in preparation for local field trip. Well set up.
  7. Welcome to Stream Watch Home Page
    Local information about the Community Water Quality Monitoring Program in Melbourne. Has news, places to go, people to contact as well as linkups to other environmental pages. Useful for high school research project about Melbourne water and in preparation for field trips. Mainly focused on streams and rivers.
  8. Catalogue of Marine Fish and Invertebrates (Aquaria Data)
    Marine and freshwater fish and invertebrate catalogue. Has global context with large colourful pictures and scientific names of each species. Can be used by young students who want to know what a specific fish looks like.
  9. Animal and Project Information Database
    Marine related topics on and about Sea World, USA. Has quizzes, facts about animals in the aquarium, photo index, career information and an "own questions" page. Can be used by an students to access information about animals and research at Sea World. Very attractive and colourful site.
  10. Environmental Organization Web Directory
    Directory over all existing environmental web dates, world wide. Huge site. Used to browse through and find specific sites on the web. Easy to use despite its size. Very informative.


Reading 1

A Bit About Bias

Source: Adapted from Tourtillott, L. and Britt, P. (1994) Evaluating Environmental Education Materials, National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, pp. 9-10.

Teachers should address the issue of bias when evaluating resources. Each of us has our own biases developed through our experiences. In addition to our personal biases, we are confronted with many forms of bias every day - in textbooks, posters, newspapers and on television. Industry and environmental groups are most often accused of presenting slanted information, but almost all forms of informational media contain some type of bias. Many are very subtle and merely a matter of how "facts" are determined and presented. Who pays for the material often indicates what slant it might take. For example, textbooks tend to include the same material edition after edition because that is what teachers and curriculum bodies expect and therefore will buy. The bias is toward the status quo and tradition, as determined by sales. Other forms of bias are more obvious, such as language that tend to portray leaders, scientists, or active individuals as men, or illustrations of domestic roles played by women.

Therefore, it is important for educators to acknowledge that we do not live in a world free from bias and to facilitate students' abilities to recognise and address bias in their lives. Recognising bias is the first step to approaching issues (especially value-laden issues) with an open perspective.

OHT 5 is a list of types of bias that could be found in environmental education resources.

Identification of bias is a critical step in evaluating materials. You may not want to eliminate all bias from materials. Such material can help students understand what bias is, that they are affected by bias and that they would gain from identifying their own biases.

Educators can deal with bias in a variety of ways:


Reading 2

Evaluation Criteria

Source: Adapted from Tourtillott, L. and Britt, P. (1994) Evaluating Environmental Education Materials, National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, pp. 7-8.

There are different categories of criteria to be considered when evaluating resources. Educators tend to focus on the quality and accuracy of content. Learning styles and presentation of material are also important considerations. The objectives of coastal and marine studies include awareness, attitudes and actions (see Module 1). These objectives should be considered when choosing resources in coastal and marine studies, also.

Awareness and Knowledge

Two important factors that you can assess in an armchair review are accuracy and breadth of content. If you are not familiar with a coastal and marine topic, you may need help in developing content specific criteria. You can start by narrowing the topic into 5-10 key concepts and develop criteria that address these concepts. Teachers may wish to team up with coastal and marine specialists for this step.

Some important criteria might be:

Attitudes

There is no way around it: environmental issues and the solutions we choose are value laden. Attitudes about the coastal and marine environment are based on individual and social value systems. It is important for facilitators to help students define and understand their own values as well as understand and value other people's perspectives. Students ideally should come away from a class feeling positive about participating in coastal and marine issues.

Considerations when evaluating the treatment of attitudes in educational resources include:

Skills and Participation

Students are more likely to become active in coastal and marine solutions if they are aware of the range of possible actions they could take, are then able to evaluate them for appropriateness and effectiveness, and have the skills necessary to implement chosen action strategies. Successful instructional materials address action strategies in several ways, including: